Election of Member Nominated Trustees this year
The Cadent Gas Pension Scheme is governed by eight Trustees. You can read more about them on this website. At the date of transfer from Section C of the National Grid UK Pension Scheme, 30 September 2020, four of the Trustees were nominated by Cadent. The other four Trustees were designated as Member Nominated Trustees (MNTs), but this was an interim measure and we are now running a process for Scheme members to formally elect four Member Nominated Trustees to the Trustee board.
The role and structure of the Trustee
The Cadent Gas Pension Scheme assets are held completely separately from Cadent Gas Limited, and while Cadent is led by its board of directors, the Scheme has its own separate board of Trustees. The Trustees govern the Scheme, ensuring it complies with legislation, and manage risks, for example the risk that the value of Scheme assets can fluctuate. The overall responsibility of the Trustee board is to ensure the payment of your Scheme benefits, correctly, and on time.
As well as the Trustee board, there are three committees: an Integrated Risk Management Committee, which considers covenant (the strength of Cadent supporting the Scheme), investments and funding; a Benefits and Communications Committee; and a Governance Committee. Most Trustees are on two committees.
The role of an MNT
As an MNT, you'll face new and complex challenges, for example changes to investment conditions and strategy, the funding of the Scheme, the changing nature of communications, and the introduction of new legislation. You'll work alongside other Trustees and specialist advisers to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the Scheme. It’s a wide-ranging and interesting role with a lot of responsibility. The role of an MNT, nominated from the Scheme’s membership, is exactly the same as the role of a Trustee appointed by Cadent.
Trustees play an important and pivotal role in management and administration of the Scheme, in the best interests of its members. The key responsibilities are as follows.
- Ensuring the Scheme is operated in accordance with the Rules and within the law.
- Acting reasonably, conscientiously and honestly, with the utmost good faith.
- Considering and deliberating expert technical and legal advice to decide strategy, Scheme investment, performance monitoring and reporting to members.
- Monitoring, reviewing and assessing the Scheme’s administrators, professional advisers, investment managers and other suppliers, including 'on-site' visits as necessary.
- Working collaboratively with the other Trustees and the Scheme’s sponsor.
- Keeping Trustee matters and business strictly private and confidential at all times.
Apply to become an MNT
The nomination period to apply as an MNT has now closed.
Please see the Question & Answers section below for further details about the process.
Provision of information
With the coronavirus pandemic, and emerging business practice, this exercise will largely be conducted online, and this is also the expectation for ongoing Trustee business. However, if you wish at any time for information on this exercise to be printed and posted to you, this will be arranged – please just email us to request this: CGPSTrustees@cadentgas.com
Are Trustees directors of a trustee company?
In communications to members, we refer to ‘Trustees’ and ‘MNTs’. In fact, the Scheme is governed by a Trustee company, Cadent Gas Pension Trustee Limited, which has eight directors, referred to as Trustee Directors, and therefore MNTs are more properly referred to as Member Nominated Trustee Directors (MNTDs) or Member Nominated Directors (MNDs). In general, the various terms are used interchangeably, but the TPR Code of Practice No.8 for example does specifically differentiate between an MNT and an MND.
How are Trustee meetings being held during the pandemic?
Meetings throughout 2020 were held by videoconference, as in-person meetings weren’t possible due to the coronavirus pandemic. Videoconferencing is likely to continue through 2021, and possibly even longer. A meeting is generally two to three hours long. Regular board and committee meetings are organised up to 18 months in advance.
Meeting packs and all governance documentation are held on an online Trustee portal. Paper is now rare. Documents are almost exclusively signed electronically. If you do not have a suitable Cadent Gas laptop, you will be provided with one specifically for use in your role.
How much time would I need to commit to be an MNT?
There’s lots to do and Trustees commit significant time to the role. You’ll attend all Trustee board meetings as well as any relevant Committee meetings. As a general rule, you can expect to attend around 25 meetings a year. Typically, these consist of one board meeting per month, and one committee meeting every month as a member of two committees, with each committee holding a meeting once every two months.
Sufficient preparatory work will need to be done before meetings, and actions and emails followed up promptly. There is often significant work between meetings as some of the Trustee business needs to be done quite quickly.
The term of an appointment of an MNT is generally for three to five years.
Is the process for appointing MNTs governed by The Pensions Regulator (TPR)?
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has produced various codes of practice, one of which is specifically regarding the appointment of MNTs. This is Regulatory Code of Practice No.8 – ‘Member Nominated Trustees and Directors – putting in place and implementing arrangements’. The CGPS Trustees will have regard to this code throughout the 2021 exercise for the Scheme.
What is the voting process?
If more than four members wish to stand for election there will be a ballot. Voting is expected to take place in May 2021. The Trustee will want an appropriate number of candidates on the ballot, and if the number of members wishing to stand is large, the Trustee will arrange for a committee to select a reasonable number of candidates who will then appear on the ballot.
In the unlikely event that there are four or fewer members wishing to stand, they will be immediately invited to join the Trustee board. Where there are fewer than four accepting the role, the Trustee will appoint those accepting and seek to encourage the eligible membership to put themselves forward for an unfilled position.
Eligibility to vote is very wide, with only a few small exceptions. Those eligible will be sent a voting pack either by post or by email, according to their preference, and will be able to vote either by post or by email, as they wish. Coordination and counting of voting will be carried out by a communication consultant appointed by the Trustees.
What other support will I receive?
The Cadent Pensions Team will be on hand to support you with everyday matters.
For the role itself, the other Trustees, the Cadent Pensions Team and the Trustee advisers will all be on hand to lend support. TPR’s website has a lot of information for Trustees. This includes a great deal of information on the role of a Trustee:
As a Trustee, you receive reimbursement of expenses and other payments to ensure you are not out of pocket.
When will you announce the results of the MNT election and when will the new role start?
Results are expected to be communicated in June/July 2021. Roles are then planned to commence in July/August 2021.
Who is eligible to stand as an MNT?
Eligibility is very wide, and almost all members of the Cadent Gas Pension Scheme are eligible to stand as an MNT. This includes active members, deferred members, pensioners and spouse pensioners.
Although you do not need to have any specialist knowledge about pensions or finance, an interest in these areas is important. You must also be able to take a common-sense approach to complex issues and be able to deal with confidential matters sensitively and diligently.
To run the Scheme effectively and sustainably requires a strong Trustee board with a diverse mix of capable people.
Will I receive any training to help me carry out the role of an MNT?
The law requires that Trustees have a working knowledge of the documents and policies governing the Cadent Gas Pension Scheme and, in addition, relevant pensions and trust law and the principles of funding and investment. A Trustee is not expected to be an expert on these matters. However, it is essential that a Trustee has a sufficient level of knowledge and understanding to review advice, and challenge the advice where necessary, in order to take decisions in the best interests of members.
You will therefore be expected to attend training courses and invest your time in reaching the necessary standard of knowledge and understanding.
Newly appointed Trustees are required to complete and pass The Pensions Regulator’s Trustee Toolkit within six months of being appointed to the Board. More information about this is available on The Pensions Regulator’s website, www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk.
This web page will be updated as the exercise progresses in 2021.